122 UFE OF arinenburg over Tjumen to Tobolsk, on the Irtysch, and thence over Tara, through the fearful steppe of Borabinski This steppe is notorious in the whole country, and dreaded by all in its vicinity., for its innumerable stinging insects of the gemis Tipidm^ but nevertheless Hunibolclt and his companions tra- versed it with the same disinterestedness and devotion. to the cause of science which we have already had occasion to admire in the heroism, of this great na- turalist during his Orinocco journey* On the 2nd August he reached Barnaul, on the shores of the Obi, and now the travellers explored the picturesquely- beautiful Kolywanlake, and the rich silver mines* of the Schlaugenberg, of Riddersk, and of Zyrlanowski, situated on the south-western side of the Altai moun- tains, The highest point of this ridge, the mountain Bjelucha, called by the Calmucks, God's Mountain, Jyct% or barren mountain; Alastu is of about the height of Mount Etna, or? according to the investiga- tions of the botanist Bunge, equal to the Peak pf Teneriffa From Bidclersk, Humboldt and his com- panions turned southward to the little fortress TJst- Kamlenoigorsk., and crossing Buchtorminsk, arrived on the boundaries of the Chinese Dsungarei. Here he obtained permission to cross the boundary., which he at once made use of to pay a short but interesting and productive visit to the Mogul settlement of Bate, also called Choninxaila-cku; and where he entered the real Asiatic district of the proximate centre of Asia, situated north of the Dsaisang lake, on the 17th August. The return from here to the fortress Ust-Kamenoi- gorsk was highly interesting for its geological value, and was suggestive of new researches ; for as he was sailing back down the Irtysch, he saw on the secluded shores of these waters, on a surface of more than 16,000 feet, immense rocks of granite, lying horizon- * It may be imagined how considerable these mines are from the annual proceeds, which amount to above 76,000 marks, or 40,842 pounds.